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Things we wish we’d written: Case #2

Joanne Parrent at No Quarter must have been listening in to a conversation with one of my sisters:

A Family Fight or a License to Hate?

When I asked my sister why she didn’t want to vote for the first viable female candidate for President – and a brilliant person as well – she told me that she “hates” Hillary Clinton. Stunned at the intensity of her feelings, I asked her “Why?” She proceeded to give me some reasons that I found startlingly similar to the Obama campaign talking points:

1. Sister: Hillary voted for the war in Iraq.

Me: Actually, she voted to give the President the authorization to go to war so the threat of war would force Saddam Hussein to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq, which it did. Bush, not Hillary, then decided to stop those inspections before they were done and invade Iraq. (I sent her an article in the Huffington Post by anti-war activist, former Ambassador and husband of Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, about this. Joseph Wilson, Huffington Post)

Sister: I don’t have time for this. She still voted for the war, and Obama was against the war.

Me: Obama didn’t have to make that tough decision. He wasn’t in the Senate. He wasn’t representing the state of New York that had been devastated on 9/11. He just gave a speech at an anti-war rally in Chicago, in his very safe, very liberal State Senate District. How much courage did that take?

Sister: Look, I’m inspired by Obama. Democrats have the right to be inspired too, you know.

Me: Okay, you like the guy. I am not crazy about him, myself. He seems like a snake oil salesman, selling hope and change. But I don’t “hate” him, and you still haven’t answered my question about why you “hate” Hillary.

2. Sister: Hillary is just like Bill Clinton. She’s too moderate and they both “triangulate”. We don’t need another Clinton. I’m tired of Bushes and Clintons. We need something new. (To her credit she didn’t use the epithet “Billary” which may have been too sexist for her. Or she may have just been embarrassed to say that to me.)

Me: Have you seen Hillary’s policy proposals? They are very similar to Obama’s. In some cases, particularly her health care proposal, they are more progressive than his. (I sent her one of economist Paul Krugman’s articles from the New York Times on why Hillary’s health care plan which will cover everyone is better than Obama’s, which will only cover children. )

Sister: Who has time to read all of these things? Politicians never do them anyway. He inspires people. That’s what we need in a President. I’m going to lose my job if you don’t quit writing all these emails and sending me all these articles.

Me: I am just trying to find out why you “hate” Hillary so much?

3. Sister: Hillary Clinton will do anything to get elected. She’s running a negative campaign.

Me: Can’t you see that that is just code for she’s an ambitious, ball-busting bitch?! What kind of sexist double standard is that? Hillary has paid her dues. She didn’t run for President in 2004 after only four years in the Senate. She waited until 2008 after being elected by the state of New York with a huge majority to a second term.


What is astonishing about what the Obama campaign has accomplished is that it has built so much of its support on this sexist, negative and inaccurate portrayal of Hillary Clinton, while at the same time successfully spreading the myth that it is the Clinton campaign that is negative. And the Obama campaign couldn’t have done this without the willing participation of Obama, himself, which belies the claim that he is a “unifying” figure and that he practices “new politics”, let alone that he brings people together. In fact, he is bringing people to his campaign by scapegoating and demonizing the “other” – the old, traditional, divisive, bitchy, lying, politics-as-usual Hillary Clinton.

Yet, in reality, Hillary is not only not traditional: she is, in fact, a very unusual figure in American politics – a First Lady who became a Senator and then ran for President. How many of those have we had? She also is not only not divisive but she has shown, as a Senator, that she can work with people who hated her and her husband when he was President.

She has healed relationships that one would expect could never be healed.

Women across the country are working their hearts out for Hillary, not only because they want to see this brilliant woman become the first woman President, but because they are furious at the ugly misogyny coming from the Obama camp. (read the rest: it’s great)

Thanks for writing this, Joanne. I really miss talking politics with all my sisters. But I feel a little better knowing that I’m not alone in this experience.

22 Responses

  1. In the interest of full disclosure, I was not actually anything like this eloquent in the conversations with my Obama supporting Sister and Best Friend…..

  2. Thank goodness I don’t have to have conversations like that. My sister is a Hillary supporter, and my husband is a Republican. (He used to “hate” Hillary, but I’ve won him over. He now realizes that she’s not SO bad. Alas, he’s still voting for John McCain.)

  3. Regarding the war vote; bush himself said that vote was NOT I repeat NOT a vote for war, yet no one seems to talk about this. Kerry got killed over his vote and even he never mentioned that bush himself said that vote was NOT a vote for war. There’s video out there of bush saying this, why no one ever brings this up is beyond me.

  4. CNYDem, I remember thinking there was something in it that required Proof before we actually went to war and that Bush would have to come back to Congress. But I don’t remember the exact language any more.

  5. well, i finally figured something out….
    i was reading a couple of my so called ‘progressive dem ‘ newsgroups (where you dont DARE mention Hillary )
    and the posters are spewing the same old stuff –
    ‘she’s divisive, destroying the party’
    and it occurred to me (bonk)
    These folks are using the tried and true tactic, that rove perfected in order to tear down the opponent.

    Attack your opponent by saying they are doing what YOURS is doing.
    (i.e kerry is war hero, they call him a traitor, etc)
    find your opponents strongest point and tear them down on it.
    Hillary is clearly a unifying figure for the bazillions of joe blow dems out there whose lives have been upended over the last seven (if not 25 years) of republican rule.
    they know the record, they know what she can do, and they DO trust her.

    like i said – bonk-( shoulda had a v8)

    just like karl rove – obama’s a ‘splitter’

  6. Thank God for my family: my immediate family supports Clinton while the extended one either does or supports McCain. Oddly enough, even though my rabid Republican cousins and I have physically brawled before over politics, I can deal with them because they’re no where near as utterly batshit as the Obama supportersClinton Haters. How I wish I were kidding.

    @CNYDem: Here’s a great link, which shows that Clinton’s vote was the same position as Hans Blix. Make sure to mention Blix next time you run into the Cult of Clinton Hate.

  7. Lucinda,

    You and Hillary still have time to convince your husband. Maybe he will come around before November.

  8. I haven’t had this conversation with my sister who says she’s supporting Obama. My strong, independent, intelligent, accomplished, ballsy sister is supporting Obama. She’s just gone through a tough personal year so I don’t want to harp on this stuff but maybe I should. She reminds me soo much of Hillary – I guess I just don’t understand.

    Then there’s my smart, independent, informed friend who SWITCHED from Hillary to Obama because there’s something “magical” about him. After a few attempts to dissuade her I realized she had drunk the kool aid and there was no saving her. How sad for America that we need someone who makes us feel good instead of a hard working, smart leader.

  9. I’m slowly working on my husband, who surprised me on primary day when he said he voted for Obama. I think he’s seeing the ridiculousness (is that a word?) of Obama’s campaign. His response is now “I’d vote for either one, anyone but McCain”. I see a crack in his armor, we’ll having him supporting Hillary in no time.

  10. taxismom, yeah, it’s astonishing how so many things obama claims others do is in fact pure projection. Ditto his campaign and his supporters.

    What is more disturbing is that he gets away with it.

    My husband was an enthusiastic Hillary supporter from the start. How bout that? 🙂

  11. Seems we all had similar conversations with friends and families. The two things that drive me up the wall: she supported going to war and he offers change. Most of the time the speaker can go no further in explaining their position. The uninformed public again making a choice. Bush redux.

  12. This is why the media is so important. Most people do not invest that much energy into politics. They are bombarded with the same talking points, not only from Obama’s campaign but from the print and broadcast media. After awhile it just sinks in. I must admit that sometimes I wonder what I am missing about Obama. I really do not like him and I can’t for the life of me understand how any smart person could be ‘taken in’ by him. However, I am reluctant to advocate for Hillary in social settings because it is such a ‘raw’ election for many people, me included.

  13. Bush redux is right. My hubby who supports Clinton just doesn’t think Obama is ready for prime time. Both my bosses support Obama. (At least I work for Democrats. In my county 72 percent of voters are registered Republicans, and all my Republican bosses were jerks.) From other Obama supporters I just hear that it would be cool to have a black president. Sorry folks, but a female president trumps everything!

  14. What I find deeply annoying about the MSM, if you only have time to pick up a cable news show around dinner time (KO or Larry King I think out here) then the news you do hear is so slanted and hateful, it slants obmama’s direction. The worst part is that folks who watch, think they ARE informed and in the know. They trust KO to keep them up to date.

    Add AirAmerica to the commute and you are getting KoolAid by IV infusion.

  15. I’ve always said this about Hillary; you either love her or you hate her. Part of the strength of that dichotomy comes from her gender.

    “Hillary Clinton will do anything to get elected. She’s running a negative campaign.”

    I think that is a bit extreme but half true. The thing is; it is not any truer when said of her than said of other politicians (like Obama). As the article said, it just plays differently when it is a woman.

    While asking whether Clinton voted for the war is a fair question, it is not the right question. Get over it guys, she voted for it; Clinton voted for the war. I know Obama did not (because only elected federal legislators got to). What we should be asking ourselves is, “If Hillary Clinton were president would we ever have started the war in the first place?” I think the answer is no and it is a relevant question since she is running for the position of president. A lot of people have changed their minds about Iraq. Its ok, the incompetence of this administration’s war planning is mind blowing. We all expected more (also we expected to find WMDs, but whatever).

    I’m not sure where the misogyny in the Obama camp is coming from. Is calling her Annie Oakley that bad, an insult to be sure but sexist? The finger? He definitely crossed the line. Either way, I don’t think anybody here is arguing that misogyny doesn’t exist or doesn’t hurt Clinton.

    There is a paradox on this board that is puzzling to me. There is a sentiment that the whole Wright thing is a “trial by fire” to borrow another’s words. I agree with this; it is a challenge he must overcome. Some people then turn around and suggest he has an iron grip on the media. Obama is not an idiot; he knows 24/7 Wright footage is not good for him.

    The whole “hope” factor is complicated and would take a while to try and dissect. If I had to boil it down, “Dum spiro, spero.”

  16. I am at odds with my brother over Obama. He’s in the tank, and I support HRC (though I did not always, and not nearly as strongly as I do now).

    He basically thinks that HRC has smeared BO as a Muslim, with the “as far as I know” comment a month or two ago, and the picture sent to Drudge.

    That’s pretty much it, and I cannot change his mind. He thinks HRC was condesceding with the earlier suggestion of a unity ticket, implying BO as VP. Talks about BO getting 35K people in a stadium and so on. Very emotional appeal, it’s true.

    But I’ve never had this kind of stark angry conflict with my brother before. It’s scaring the crap out of me.

  17. When I hear it said that she will do anything to get elected I remind them of Fred Thompson. This is the guy who they touted as the next best thing to Ronald Reagan and when he did make his entrance he slouched onto the arena with a attitude of ” the prize is mine because you said so”. The fact that he would have to work for it surprised both himself and the media when he basically went along for the ride. You have to work for it. And if it looks like you are fighting to get it maybe you are.

  18. I did send another donation to Hillary last night. She got another SD here in Missouri with the endorsement of Ike Skelton. One of my best friends is an Obama supporter, I’m going to forward this post to her.

  19. Sarah: Don’t feel alone. I, too, have lost a couple of friends over my support for HRC. Once they’ve drunk the BO love potion, it seems there’s no turning back for them. I now feel as though I never really knew these people, because the spewed anti-Hillary vile coming out of their mouths is shocking and something worthy of a Linda Blair pea soup spectacle. It IS really scary.

  20. I’m an Obama supporter, but I can’t stand it when people “hate” Hillary. It’s amazing how many people can’t stand to see a tough woman. I have never been on the “I hate Hillary” bandwagon, and I really appreciate the difficulty of being a woman in the political world. However, I’m more for Obama than Hillary, and that has nothing to do with her being a woman. I find her dislikable in a way that would be dislikable if she were a man. Despite this, John McCain’s still a hell of a lot more dislikable than either democratic candidate for SO many reasons…

  21. What specifically is so dislikable? What has she done?

  22. Hillary Clinton inspires me and makes me proud to be a woman. I cried when I heard her say,For all the little girls on their father’s shoulders and have heard or will hear, “You REALLY can be ANYTHING you set your mind too.”

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